If you know me, you know this: I work hard. I’m quite prolific.
When I recently dropped my almost 7000 word blog post, The Tarot Lady’s Ultra-Deluxe Superfly Astrology Guide for 2016, I received a lot of emails asking me: damn girl…how do you get so much done?
It all comes down to rigorous planning and discipline.
Which means every day is planned down to the minute.
Sound nuts? It’s not. But my origin for meticulous planning comes from a kinda nutty source: Joan Crawford.
I am lucky enough to have a copy of her wacky advice book, My Way Of Life, and although I bought the book on a Joan-Crawford-dazed-binge brought on by marathons on the classic movie channel, I was absolutely fascinated with her ability to micro-manage her time for maximum output (while still maintaining a glamorous life!).
Crawford explained that her only hangup is time: “I’m greedy. Greedy to fill every minute of my days with all the things I want to accomplish.” She adds: “Squeezing the most out of life takes a little executive planning.” While Crawford’s other advice may be dismissible (the chapter on child care and dieting…OMG), her love of time management has been super influential in my life.
This advice formed my relationship to my daily schedule. I don’t just create a schedule because I want to be fruitful in my efforts…I plan rigorously so that my life has room for the other things that I want to do outside of work: namely, cooking fancy meals and reading (and soon, photography – it’s on my list as my most wanted hobby).
My schedule is simple and strict. This sets up a rhythm for me, my family, and my clients.
I have a basic daily schedule that I adhere to. Each day is further customized for that day’s tasks. Plus, every night I create a small to-do list for projects or things that MUST get done the next day.
For example, every morning, I do my social media Card of the Day posts as soon as my feet hit the floor and my teeth are brushed. Fifteen minutes later – they’re done. Now I can do my morning exercises, feed the cats, and eat a simple breakfast (I eat the same thing every day so that I don’t have to think about it and can get right to work). I prefer to do my daily writing in the morning after I’ve eaten. Mornings work better for me when it comes to creative stuff but I must have fuel in my belly before I can sit at the computer.
After I’ve completed my writing tasks, it’s time to run errands. I market every day because I cook fresh every night. Plus, this is my time to chat with my husband about our days.
The afternoons are devoted to clients on the days that I see them, or to running my business and more writing.
Evenings are for cooking, television, reading, and snuggling.
Before bed, I create the to-do list for the next day.
Every Sunday, I create a “master list” for the week. This lets me know what goals need to be accomplished that week. I can break those down over the upcoming work days.
At the beginning of every month, I mark out my major meetings as well as my editorial calendar and any podcasts I need to tend to. All of this goes on my calendar.
This hyper organization may sound like a lot to do but it’s fast ‘n easy. Especially once you get used to living on a tightly tailored schedule.
And once you do just that, you’d be surprised at how much you can get done while still having a life.
One last thing about planning my day and being prolific – I live by this motto: no excuses. That means no matter how moody I am, no matter how bad my allergies get, no matter how much is on my table, I stick to the schedule and do my work until things get done. While that may sound hard-core, it’s not.
Because here’s the deal: running a business requires personal responsibility and a willingness to show up, even if you’d rather lay in bed and play with the cats. Your schedule is only as effective as your efforts.
Whether you wish to create a down-to-the-minute schedule like Joan and I do or you prefer something a bit less structured, see how much better your business (and life) runs with a bit of daily planning.
“If I have one thing going for me, it’s not that I’m Joan Crawford with a good job and a bank account, but the fact that I was born working.” ~ Joan Crawford.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015